In June 2009, I was shown the only naturalised stand of victory onion (Allium victorialis) in south western Norway (away from Lofoten Islands – Vestvågøy – and Bodø area where there are several large populations). It’s found in a damp wood (which regularly floods in spring) along the Granvinselven. Please refer to my book Around the World in 80 plants for more information about this fantastic onion!! This onion can grow both in shady and full sun localities:
A few pictures of life returning to the garden…
The first time my garden was featured in a book was in former Norwegian TV gardener and gardener for the King, Tor Smaaland’s 2004 book “Din drømmehage”. The book was based on Tor’s travels around Norway visiting gardens and their owners. I remember his visit well as he was like a whirlwind almost running around the garden and talking at full throttle…he told me that he was a landscape architect and new little about plants and then he was gone again…so quick was he that I didn’t get a single picture of his visit! Most of the text about the plants was written by me (see pdf at the bottom of this page!).
I loved his amusing description of me and my garden (first in Norwegian below and then translated):
«Hage til å spise opp: Som Norges kanskje eneste moderne ikke-munk har engelskmannen Stephen Barstow brukt de siste tiåra på å anlegge et slags fri klosterhage ved Malvik utenfor Trondheim med noe mellom 1500-3000 planter, avhengig av hvordan vinteren har fart over hagen. Her er 30 av hans favoritter – og ganske uventet bruk av dem» ;)
(Garden to be eaten up: As perhaps Norway’s only modern non-monk, Englishman SB has over the last 10 years created a kind of free style monastery garden in Malvik outside of Trondheim with somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000 plants, dependent on the ravages of the winter. Here are 30 of his favourites and their rather unexpected uses)
You will notice quite a few of the plants that finally ended up in my book and many of which I now call Edimentals; for example: variegated ground elder (variegert skvallerkål), nodding onion (prærieløk), seiersløk (Allium victorialis), udo (Aralia cordata), giant bellflower (storklokke), daylilies (dagliljer), Hosta, golden hops (gulhumle), Malva (kattost), ostrich fern (strutseving), Bath asparagus (Ornithogalum pyrenaicum), bistort (ormrot), rubber dandelion (gummiløvetann), bulrush (dunkjevle) and nettles (nesle).
Here are a few of my Allium victorialis pictures from the 2014 onion safari to the Lofoten Islands! The aim was to see the naturalised stands of viking onion / seiersløk on the island Vestvågøy, quite possibly a viking introduction…it grows commonly around the Borg viking museum (on the site of an old viking settlement)…much more in my book on this amazingly tasty, healthy, shade-tolerant and productive onion!
Follow the link to the original FB album:
The document below is in Norwegian but contains many pictures from my first visit to Vestvågøy in the Lofoten Islands to see the stands of naturalised victory onion (seiersløk), Allium victorialis, including a harvesting trip with Judith van Koesveld (she and her partner Christoph produce a local pesto from the plants). The document also contains an account of a visit to Brynhild Mørkved at the botanical gardens in Tromsø to see the collection of Allium victorialis accessions from different parts of this onion’s extensive range (from the Pyrenees to Japan). Plants vary quite a lot in their form. Finally, I visited Geir Flatabø in Ulvik (Hardanger) in south west Norway and he showed me the large naturalised stand of this plant next to the Granvin river. There are also a few pictures from a collection of heritage ornamentals at the Lofotmuseet and from a visit to a once great but now derelict garden at Finneset (Steinhagen). All pictures were taken in June 2009.
Almost 2 years ago on 29th April 2014, this quiche features perennial vegetables, starring Hablitzia / Stjernemelde, Allium victorialis / Seiersløk, Ground Elder / Skvallerkål, Stinging Nettle / Brennesle, Garlic / Hvitløk and homegrown chili, with a 100% wholemeal barley, rye and spelt crust, parmesan cheese and served with Jerusalem artichokes and Blue Congo potato and topped with dried with dried Alpine Bistort / Harerug bulbils!! Doesn’t get much better!!
April 2014 and Yngvil (aka Ms. Saladdy) was helping out in my garden, her practical experience for her education to become a gardener! I’ll let her tell her own story of the wonderful diverse tempura we made together on that day using perennial veggies!
..includes ostrich fern, blanched lovage, Udo, perennial kale, moss-leaved dandelion, Allium victorialis, nettles, Aster scaber, scorzonera shoots, Campanula latifolia, Oca, Myrrhis, Allium scorodoprasum, garlic, Allium ursinum, Ligularia fischeri (first time), sea kale, Primula veris “Red Strain”, Rumex acetosa, Alliaria petiolata and a few others…